Afghan officials have confirmed on Sunday that at least ten civilians were killed following an airstrike in the eastern Paktia province bordering Pakistan.
Shausta Jan Ahady, a former provincial council member, said that women and children were among those killed in the strike carried out on Friday. He said local residents displayed the bodies and protested on Sunday. Provincial government spokesman Abdullah Hsrat said the airstrike killed four insurgents and that an investigation has been launched into the allegations of civilian casualties.
“We are aware of the reports of civilian casualties, but can’t confirm it right now, as an investigation is ongoing,” said Hsrat.
Ahady said the area is under Taliban’s control and so exact information is difficult to obtain.
In a separate incident in the southern Helmand province, an airstrike killed the Taliban’s shadow governor and two of his guards, according to the provincial government spokesman, Omar Zwak.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s spokesman, in a statement said that Mullah Abdul Manan Akhand, a powerful military commander in the southern region, was among those killed in Saturday’s airstrike.
Manan was a military commander and the Taliban’s shadow governor responsible not only for Helmand, but also Kandahar, Zabul and Nimroz provinces, according to local officials in Helmand.
The Taliban control of nearly half the country and run a parallel administration with provincial governors and military commanders across numerous provinces in the country.
It was not immediately clear who carried out either airstrike.